As adults, we often find ourselves embarrassed to admit we are jealous of the fact that one of our closest friends is randomly spending increased time with someone whom we casually introduced them to. One of your associates doesn’t have plans one Friday evening after work, so you invite them to join you and one of your best friends for happy hour. The evening begins with a flow of tequila shots and rounds of half-off, cocktails from the bar. As the evening progresses, the three of you decide to check out one of the downtown clubs that is launching their seasonal, “First Friday’s” event. Since you are the one most familiar with the clubs location, you volunteer to drive. Your friend and associate leave their cars parked outside of the bar. The three of you arrive to the club, dance the night away and end up staying out together until two-thirty, early Saturday morning. You’ve had the least to drink, so you’re automatically elected as the sober driver amongst the group. Your friend and associate are sprawled across the backseat together, but not totally passed out. The two of them are laughing at one another, singing to the top of their lungs, yelling jibberish out of the back windows and simply enjoying the last moments of your night out together. You make the decision that your friend and associate are not sober enough to drive their own cars home. As a result, you hop on the highway that leads straight to your house. Later that Saturday morning, you’re preparing breakfast in the kitchen as your friend and associate are recovering from hangovers on the sofa and couch in your living room. The two of them are exchanging words and quick phrases with one another about the fun you all shared the night before. You overhear them asking one another about their jobs and relationship statuses – sort of the things that never came up in conversation at the bar or the nightclub. After breakfast, you drop both your friend and associate off at their cars. You casually mention that the three of you should definitely get together sometime soon for ROUND TWO of what was certainly a good time had by all. Your friend and associate agree. The three of you go your separate ways and don’t see or hear from one another for the remainder of the weekend.
SO YOU THINK…
On Monday morning, you log into your work computer at the start of the day. The first thing you do is check your social media pages simply to see if there are any new photos or status updates that have been posted by the people you’re closest to. The first picture you see posted at the top of your Facebook feed is a shot of your best friend and associate sitting at the bar the three of you attended on Friday night – the same bar you introduced them to for the first time. You realize that they’re both wearing different clothes than the outfits that they were wearing Friday night. Then, you look at the date and caption beneath the picture. It’s marked for Saturday night. Your best friend and associate went back to the bar together without texting or calling to invite you along. Immediately, you catch an attitude. In your mind you’re thinking, “when did they even exchange phone numbers?” – “why did my best friend above all people not ask me to come with them?” – “what the hell?! I’m the one who even told them about the new bar!”
When you ask your best friend why you weren’t invited to head back to the bar on Saturday night, your friend dismisses your inquiry by simply saying, “you know how you are. You wouldn’t have wanted to go drinking two nights in a row.” And in your mind, you know that your best friend is being honest and factual, but it still irritates you that you weren’t at least given the option to decline the offer. As the next few weeks pass by, you find yourself growing increasingly annoyed by the fact that the two individuals you casually introduced, are now regularly hanging out with one another, without you.
You find yourself beginning to remove yourself from associating with both your best friend and your associate. You intentionally avoid liking their status messages or photos on social media, and you refuse to reach out to either of them to invite yourself along on their now, weekly outings. The one or two times that the associate or best friend have asked you to join them, you’ve been too “in your feelings” to accept the offer. A part of you is jealous and bothered by their newfound friendship, but you’re also feeling embarrassed that their relationship is making you feel like the outcast. You have not expressed your resentment, hurt feelings or annoyance with either of them.
You should not be embarrassed. Your feelings are valid and quite normal. Often times, when our close friend begins hanging closely with someone new, it does tend to make us feel replaced. We begin to assume that the new bond is more important or more significant to our best friend than the relationship we’ve developed with them over years. We begin to wonder if our friend is having more fun with the new individual. Those thoughts then put us into a space of feeling insecure, questioning our worth and doubting the position we presently play alongside the friend we’ve known and loved since what feels like forever.
It is so important, however, to remember that real friendships FRAME our lives. The frame is rarely broken or replaced. However, within that frame, the picture is constantly changing. Sometimes, the picture requires a scene that illustrates your best friend sitting in the corner engrossed in family problems, relationship issues and financial debt. You may not be included in that particular scene right away because your friend is choosing to handle their personal issues alone. Another scene may require that your friend be painted in the center of the picture with a love interest sitting beside them. You are included in this scene, but positioned far off to the right of the portrait. You are positioned as being present, but only when called upon as needed. And in the scene where your friend is learning to explore the world outside of their comfort zone with you, the picture may be painted to include your friend standing outside, alongside a new individual who looks totally opposite from you.
It simply becomes necessary that you remind yourself that you are a part of the FRAME. The frame keeps the illustration solid and standing. Regardless of how the picture changes in your friend’s life, he or she will always need you and call upon you to help them keep the picture in place.
You do not have to always be a part of the scene or illustration in order for your presence and friendship to be known or embraced.